Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Best Blonde Moment of my life...

A few recent events have reminded me about my best "blonde" moment. Since it happened as I was completing my Master's degree it was not a question of a lack of IQ points. I am a fairly intelligent person~ but this was not a good example of that!

I had just completed all of the coursework for my Master's degree, passed the national exam, presented my thesis to my professor's and then spoke in front of my state's speech therapy conference held that year. I was ready to start my career. It was the early '90's... there were lots of jobs out there and I was ready to rake in the offers and decide which direction my life would head.

I finished my resume and read it over many times to make sure the wording was perfect. I had a fantastic cover latter, personalized for school or hospital or facility, highlighting as many of the wonderful accomplishments I could cram into it about my first 23 years of life.

I researched (back then it was not just a Google click to get to open "help wanted" positions) and checked the school bulletin board that listed available jobs. I copied down all the names and addresses from the board of all the jobs I might be interested in.

I sent out over 40 resumes. In my mind, it was like throwing a baited hook into a well-stocked pond. I just needed to be patient and reel in all my options....

Two weeks later~ nothing. Damn mail, I thought. How long could it take to deliver my letters? I even dropped them off at the post office. I started worrying. My classmates were reporting many offers, they were getting very excited.

Three weeks later~ still nothing. OMG! Why don't they want me?!! My classmates had accepted positions. I had not heard ANYTHING! I did what any rationale person in my situation would do... I called my Mom. She told me not to worry. She suggested I come home for a visit.

Four weeks later~ still NOTHING! I am at home and my Mom asks to see my resume. (I think she was worried that instead of typing "certified" I typed "certifiable"or something!)

Remember I said I checked my resume's wording? Well, I should have checked my numbers. I put the WRONG phone number on all FORTY resumes!!

Go ahead.... say it, think it. Shake your head in disbelief. There is nothing you can think of that I did not say, feel or think back then.

I had no idea what to do. Should I call all 40 people I sent resume's too and say, "Hello, I put the wrong phone number on the resume I sent you.... wanna hire me?!"

Mom suggested I call the number on the resume and see who answered. Have I ever mentioned that I hate talking on the phone?! I will do it, but I do not like it under the best of circumstances. This was not a good circumstance! I knew I would never recover from this horror. My life was totally over. What a waste. No career. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

So, I called the wrong number. I talked to Olive Johnson when she answered the phone. I said my name and she said, "Oh my! So many people keep calling for you!!" (cha-ching! OK, I felt dumb, but was relieved that people had been calling for me!!)

She was very nice. I explained my situation and she said she would take messages and forward them on to me. I actually think she was one of my best assets. My future boss told me later that Mrs. Johnson was my best reference!!

It all worked out. I am sure I missed out on lots of opportunities that came along before I realized my mistake. But my first job as a speech therapist was fantastic and I will always remember the experience.

I also learned the importance of proof-reading. Do not trust spell check when the "steaks" ;) are high!! :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Career Choices

At breakfast today, Dill was talking to me about what he wanted to be when he grew up. He mentioned 4 career choices. I’ve been thinking about his choices all day.

So the 4 are…. Doctor, teacher, police officer or Masseur.

Since we were also working on his math homework while we ate breakfast, I was disappointed that he didn’t choose something in the computer sciences because he is very quick with the math knowledge…. Except fractions, which he does not seem to like.

I suppose doctors need quite a bit of math….. figuring out prescriptions and having to use a 24 hour clock because of long rotations and such. A friend just told me recently that her son (starting medical school) will owe about $40-50,000 per year for his 8 year program….. those are some big numbers!!!

I sometimes feel bad for doctors, I think they make pretty good money (once student loans are finally paid off) but the hours are hard, the training is long and with medical insurance as topsy-turvy as it is…. It sounds challenging.

Teachers and police officer positions are not what they used to be. Neither of them are paid enough for the hazards they encounter on a day to day basis. Jobs are harder to come by and the competition is huge. The respect and admiration for both of these careers isn’t what it should be for as important as those roles are. I think it is admirable that Dill considered these jobs but I think he could do better.

That leaves Massage therapy. I actually did some research on it tonight. Some of the training is in an online course format. (Dill would love that!) Most programs take a year or so to complete and the salary range is $28,200-62,500. That is not bad! They mostly make their own hours and all the pictures of the massage therapists on the website ads I checked out tonight looked very healthy and tan.

I guess since Dill is only in the third grade, he still has time to change his mind. But I think one of the requirements for a massage therapy license should be that they have to promise lifetime massages for their mothers…. Especially if those mothers are doctors, police officers or teachers. ☺

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Last week, Pepper had a late meeting, we did not leave until almost 5 and then ran out for a quick dinner before we needed to be back to the school for the open house. When I got back, just after 5:30…. there was candy on my desk. It said, “Happy Easter! Thanks for all you do!!” The message was typed. It was not signed. I thought about who was in the building that could have put it there.

I really hate this sort of thing. I love that someone appreciates whatever it is I did for them but I really want to know the “w.h.-“…. Who, what, why…. So, I started asking around to try to narrow down who might have put this on my desk. I checked the desks of other members of my team…. No one had a similar treat. I checked with the teachers I knew had hung around late that day, with the principal, secretary, people I knew I did nice things for that might have shown this appreciation. I even asked people that I figured would not have left anything for me. No one said they put the treat on my desk.

At home, the boys and I have been working on our fallen tree. We’ve gotten all the roots and big branches moved and we’ve started trying to move the dirt from around some of the still connected roots. It is a huge job. Even with all the help from Uncle K last fall…. It is more than we could handle. I started calling around to places to find out about trunk removal. I got estimates…. Most were around the $450 range. Ugh. That is pretty much all the money Pepper and I made teaching an after-school program. Uncle K mentioned a friend of his that might do it for less. I called and left a message for him and said what I needed and to give me an estimate. The next day when I got home the trunk was gone and the hole was filled with dirt. I called Uncle K’s friend to ask how much we owed and where to send payment. He said he did not do it. Neither did his brother.

Now we live in a small, rural community. Lots of our neighbors have back hoes and tractors. Dill, the only one in the family who actually saw the man doing the job described him as “an old guy with mostly grey hair” That describes a lot of our neighbors. He couldn’t even remember what color the tractor was (there are neighbors loyal to International and others loyal to John Deere) and I have no idea how to find my good Samaritan.

Pepper says I should just not worry about it and focus on “paying it forward” as the saying goes…. So I suppose I will just try to do that. Maybe the kindness will continue to be contagious. To everyone: “Happy Easter! Thanks for all you do!!” :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Every Easter...

Every Easter this cartoon is printed somewhere. It always brings a smile..... I don't know if its because I am a speech therapist or a chocolate lover, but I think the creator was quite clever. Happy Easter! :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I’ve been thinking about a childhood friend. His birthday is today. He would be turning 44. He’s been gone now almost as many years as I knew him. We had a lot of good times together… and got into trouble sometimes too. Here are a couple of the stories I remember about Scott….


When Scott and I were about 10 my parents and I got into a huge fight. I have no idea why. I really do not remember what we were fighting about but I remember telling Scott that I hated them. He told me that I should run away. He had a great idea that I could live in the storage space above his garage. I stomped around mad and kept talking about how dumb they were. After awhile I went home and worked things out with my parents. Scott went home and started fixing up the space above his garage. The next day Scott called and wanted me to come over to his house.

When I got there he was very excited to have me come see what he had been working on in the garage. I went in and then followed him up some steep stairs. It really wasn’t a room….. it was more like a storage spot. If I remember correctly it was just ply wood over the support beams. In the middle of the ‘room’ Scott had laid a sleeping bag and set two flashlights next to it. There was also a bag of chips, a canteen of water and an empty jelly jar. On the sleeping bag was a complete boxed set of “Little House on the Prairie”.

From where I was standing I could look down and see the cement floor below us. I really did not like heights. I was also a little worried about the fact that my Mom had often told me that I rolled around in my sleep. Scott was showing me the accommodations and the amenities. He was explaining that he brought two flashlights so I would have a back-up. Chips and water were there for obvious reasons. Now I thought the jelly jar was to use as a glass….. Scott said it was actually in case I had to pee in the night. A jelly jar….. Seriously?? I asked about the books (I think they were his sisters) and he told me they were to read because I would not be able to go to school.

Ok, at home, I had my own room with a waterbed and carpeting and a phone (because I had a really long cord from the living room) and posters on the walls… not to mention a bathroom right down the hall. I had already decided: No way!

Scott asked me if I liked it and I said that it was ok, but that I wasn’t going to stay. I explained that I wasn’t mad at them any more and I did not want to run away. He was madder at me than I was at my parents! I probably should have been more appreciative, but my fear at that moment was just getting back down the ladder to ground level!! Scott didn’t talk to me for several days after that. I have no idea when he finally took all those supplies back into the house. Every time I see the Little House books (Pepper has a set) I think about him and the room he made for me. ☺


When I was about 12 I had a paper route. The best thing about it was the huge bag I got to carry the papers around in. Well, the bag is what Scott liked best…. I actually liked the tips! He liked carrying the bag and helping me go around the neighborhood on my route. One day after we started we noticed mail in a mailbox. We (and it is really hard not to just blame it all on Scott right here) started putting mail from mailboxes into the paper carrier bag as we delivered the papers. Throughout the whole route we walked through the neighborhood and picked up everyone’s mail. We actually did this for 3 or 4 days in a row. We took the mail home and opened it all. (Come on, kids love mail…. It was like Christmas and birthday cards on hyper-drive!) We opened bills and letters and social security checks and all kinds of interesting stuff. We were having a ball!

We hid all the mail in my closet.

Unfortunately, my Mom went in one day looking for something and couldn’t help but notice all the correspondence! She asked me about it and I eventually crumbled. I told her what Scott and I had been up to. She called Scott’s Mom and glared at me the whole time she talked to her on the phone. The two Mom’s got together and sorted through all our mail and did their best to get it back to the right people. Later, Mom told me she wasn’t thrilled with the bonding experience! The one thing both our Mom’s agreed on was that we could not spend time together anymore. That really didn’t last long….. we could always find antics to get into. I have lots more stories, but my kids read this!! ☺

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Subject: The NEW Survivor show

This was an email sent to me by a friend from church….. thought it would be good to share….

Have you heard about the next planned “Survivor” show?

Five businessmen and five businesswomen will be dropped in an elementary school classroom for 1 school year. Each business person will be provided with a copy of his/her school district's curriculum, and a class of 23-28 (or more) students.

Each class will have a minimum of five learning-disabled children, three with A.D.H.D., one gifted child, and two who speak limited English. Three students will be labeled with severe behavior problems.

Each business person must complete lesson plans at least 4 days in advance, with annotations for curriculum objectives and modify, organize, or create their materials accordingly. They will be required to teach students, handle misconduct, implement technology, document attendance, write referrals, correct homework, make bulletin boards, compute grades, complete report cards, document benchmarks, communicate with parents, and arrange parent conferences. They must also stand in their doorway between class changes to monitor the hallways.

In addition, they will complete fire drills, tornado drills, and code red drills for shooting attacks each month. They must attend staff development meetings, Individual Educational planning meetings and Parent-teacher Organization meetings. They must also tutor students who are behind and strive to get their 2 non-English speaking children proficient enough to take the ESL tests.

Each day they must incorporate reading, writing, math, science, and social studies into the program. They must maintain discipline and provide an educationally stimulating environment to motivate students at all times. If all students do not wish to cooperate, work, or learn, the teacher will be held responsible.

The business people will only have access to the public golf course and can go on the weekends, but with their new salary, they will not be able to afford it. There will be no access to expense accounts or vendors who want to take them out to lunch, and lunch will be limited to twenty-five minutes, as long as they can get all the students to and from the lunch room in a timely manner. The business people will be permitted to use a student restroom, as long as another survival candidate can supervise their class, they also have the option to go during their 25 minute lunch break.

If the copier is operable, they may make copies of necessary materials before or after school. However, they cannot surpass their monthly limit of copies. Although they should be aware that the school will run out of paper by mid-February, so they will need to make accommodations for that. They should also be prepared to wait in a line for the said copier, because all the other teachers in the building will also need to have access to it at the same time. They should also wear their coat down to the copy room because the heat goes off as soon as the students leave and it will be chilly waiting in line.

The business people must continually advance their education, at their expense, and on their own time.

The winner of this Season of Survivor will be allowed to return to their own job. By the way…..If you think teaching is just a whole lot of money with summers off…. You are NOT a teacher! ☺

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cars from the '50's

I was discussing with my student teacher that I like it when people personalize books when they give them as gifts. It was her last day working with me and she gave me a very nice book of nature photography because she knew it was an interest of mine. The book was very nice and I the only thing about it that disappointed me was that there was no inscription. I have always liked when someone gives me a book that they write a nice message inside so that I can always remember the reason and person that gave it to me.

We talked about personalizing books at lunch and someone mentioned that they thought that was an “east coast” tradition. Well, since I am from Cleveland… I have no idea where I got the idea! (My student teacher did write in my new book!)

It reminded me of the time I bought a book for my father for his birthday (or maybe father’s day… they were both pretty close together) My father was not a reader. He only finished the 8th grade and I think books kind of scared him. When he was promoted into management his biggest fear was that he would need to read something out loud which he knew he did not do well. But, while I was in college I found a book I thought he might like so I mailed it to him.

The funny thing is, when he got it in the mail I was actually on the phone talking with my Mom. I could hear him in the background when he saw it. Since I was in college I had more time than money so I sent it “book rate”. That saved me a couple dollars at the post office. So, when my Dad saw the package on the table while my Mom was on the phone talking to me I could hear (and picture) the scene perfectly.

“Who’s this box for?--- Oh, its for me!” says Dad. I can hear it being moved across their kitchen table. “From Ilene…. Book rate? A book? What is she sending me a book for??!”

Moms says, “Well your birthday is coming up…… maybe its for that.”

“She knows I don’t like books, why would she send this?!” He has no idea that I can hear him because he did not notice Mom was on the phone. I can hear the paper being ripped off the book as he continues to mumble about the fact that I do not even know what he likes for his birthday. He sees the cover and says, “Oh! Cars from the 50’s, hmmmm…”

I wrote an inscription in that book about how I thought he’d like seeing all the old cars. The next time I saw him he thanked me for the book and said he thought it was nice. He never really talked about it much after that though. At his funeral, one of his buddies came up and asked me if I was the daughter that gave him that car book. He told me that my father used to study it and then win bets with that book when he “proved” he knew car facts…. Apparently he carried it around with him in his truck. ☺

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sometimes I am my own worst enemy...

I picked out this picture when Pepper first wanted to teach me how to cross-stitch. She seemed to enjoy cross-stitching whenever we were watching TV or hanging out with friends in college, so I thought it would be good to learn too. So we went to JoAnn Fabrics and she showed me all the available patterns and I thought this was a great picture. So we gathered all the supplies and headed home to sort the colors and start the project.

Since it was my first crafty-type project it took a LOT of time to complete. I think I started it in 1989….. and finally finished it in 1991 (keep in mind I was also in grad school at the time…. So not all my time was devoted to this picture)

Once I finished all the little’s “X’s” and then back stitched it and then washed and ironed it, we took it back to JoAnn’s to get it framed. Framing artwork is NOT really in a grad student’s budget…… it seemed to cost a great deal more than it should! But, we ate Ramen noodles and mac and cheese for a couple weeks and I got the little picture professionally framed.

That summer, Pepper and I went down to Florida to visit relatives. Pepper wanted to visit her great-grandmother (she lived in Florida swamp land…. That’s a whole other story) and I wanted to visit my grandparents. (This grandma would later be known as GG….. but we didn’t call her that yet)

I slipped my little framed picture into my suitcase so I could show my grandmother the project I completed. She was always pretty crafty….. mostly quilts and curtains and things, but I thought she would appreciate all the hard work I put into my little picture. So once we got settled in to my grandparents house I brought the picture out to show my grandparents.

I held it out and said, “Look, Grandma, I made this. Pepper taught me how to cross- stitch and then I had it framed. Didn’t it turn out nice?!”

My grandmother took it and looked at it for a minute then said me, “Thank you, I love it. I know just where I am going to hang it!”

This response left me speechless. I had not planned to give it to my grandmother…. I had planned to show it to her! Unfortunately, by the time I found the words to explain that fact to her I was already in a bear hug with her telling me how sweet I was. Pepper thought this was pretty funny and she told me so the first chance she got!

So we spent the week visiting in Florida and when we left, the little picture didn’t. I didn’t get it back for several years…. After my grandfather passed away and the house was sold. I have it now hanging in our house. It is pretty much the only cross- stitch project I ever completed, but I still like it and I am glad GG got to keep it with her in Florida. The story of my speechlessness at the situation can still make me smile, even after all these years. :)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I could repeat it

Got to watch a four year old the other day. We spent some time at the bookstore. We had a great time going up the escalator to get to the children’s section. We wandered around looking at the books then found a Thomas the train play table set up for kids to try out in the store. He spent about 5 minutes checking out the trains then started to move his little body around in the tell-tale way that kids do when their bladders are full. I asked him if he needed to go to the bathroom, he said no, he just liked to dance when he played with trains. Hmmm- ok. I watched him for another couple of minutes then realized that I had no spare clothes or real comprehension of how potty trained this fellow really was.

“Ok, time to go to the bathroom” I said, and met very little resistance from the little guy. (Could be because he realized we’d get to go back down the escalator) We reached the bathroom without incident, although the dance moves had kicked up a notch. We went into the large stall and I asked if he could unbutton his pants on his own. I think he could have except his dance moves had morphed into crossing his legs with a slight panicy-frantic look on his face.
After we got his pants down I asked if he liked to sit or stand. He informed me that he was a sitter. Ok, I lifted him up and set him on the seat. Standing in front of him I realized his penis was pointed directly at me. I knew I didn’t bring extra clothes for me either so I said, “Honey, point your penis down into the bowl.”

He did, but as he did he looked at me seriously and said, “You shouldn’t use that word. I could repeat it.”

“Penis? You don’t like that word?” I say, still focused on staying dry, “That’s the word I use with my boy’s. What word should I use?”

He thinks about it and then says, “Bottom is a better word.”

Since he was now ready to hop down and we managed to complete the task without getting wet…. I decide not to discuss anatomy with him further.

As I am helping him wash his hands he leans in and whispers, “Sometimes I skip washing my hands.”

I told him I didn’t because I liked bubbles and we used WAY more soap then needed (neither of our elbows really needed washing!!) We played in the water then headed back out to the escalator again and then read books together for quite awhile before deciding on the one he really wanted.

After that we found Pepper and went to McDonald’s. While we watched him play with Macy in the play structure Pepper leaned over and asked if I missed having a 4 year old in our lives. I thought about my answer carefully, knowing that maternal clock ticking is a dangerous thing…. I said, “Well, I like babysitting. We get all the joy and we get to skip the teen years and college tuition….. “ I was gonna mention that it was like being grand-parents but sometimes I do know when to stop talking. ☺

Sunday, April 3, 2011


After church today the family went to an Old Country Buffet. It is one of Dad B's favorite dinner spots, the kids were ready for lunch and we had about an hour before the bicycle shop we wanted to stop at opened. Everyone tried out all the things they wanted.... Dill had at least 4 bowls of chicken noodle soup, Pete and Macy had chocolate milk and slurpee's and Dori had popcorn shrimp. The kids all finished before the adults did and were mostly waiting quietly...except Dill.

Dill started asking if we could leave. He has the patience of a 9 year old and Dad D mentioned to him that he should just sit down and relax. Dill answered in his best but-I am-too-stuffed- voice "But all this food wants me to eat it!!" :)

April Fools Joke

We are currently snake sitting for Dill's teacher over spring break. Our house is snake rich... with Pete's sand boa "Sandy" and the teacher's two corn snakes "Butter" and "Kernel".

Dori does NOT like all. Now Pepper and I don't love snakes, but we can both appreciate a pet that only needs to eat once a week and is contained in a well-constructed cage. Dill and Pete keep carrying the snakes around the house. Sandy is the smallest... about 2 feet long or so. The corn snakes are closer to 4 feet long each.

We also have a 4th snake in the house. It is rubber and I think one of the boys got it at a dollar store or something. Pete was sitting near Dori holding one of the corn snakes in one hand and the rubber snake in the other. Anyone with brothers.... or knows someone with brothers, knows what happened next. Pete calmly says, "Dori, catch" and hurles the rubber snake into the air. Dori starts screaming and trying to get away from the snake. (I rarely see Dori move so fast!!)

When it lands it is easy to see that it looks nothing like any of the real snakes we have in the house, but in that flash of time that that snake is airborne, it sure seems real. Everyone laughs hysterically at Dori for moving away from the flying snake so fast.... we tell her we're laughing with her not at her. The really funny thing is her brothers have thrown the rubber snake at her two more times since the April Fool's Day joke..... she jumps and screams each time. Today, Dori decided to put the rubber snake in her room so the boys can't throw it at her. I can't wait until she goes to look under her bed for shoe or something and scares the heck out of herself when she sees that snake there!! :)